All posts in the ‘Winemaking’ Category

Creative Inspiration for Wine Blending

April showers have given way to the new growing season and for me, it’s a chance to dust off my green-thumb and create the gardens I have daydreamed about all winter. At the winery, this time coincides with a new season of wine blending trials for the 2014 vintage.  I find myself thinking about these […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , ,

2013 vintage well on its way, stage set for great wine quality!

  Here we go again.  The seasonality of producing wine is one of its most attractive elements.  As a former Donelan intern once said “it’s a grape’s world and we’re just living in it.”  Buds have broken, shoots and leaves are extending (at great speed with this heat!), and another vintage is on its way.  […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Donelan Harvest Images: Pressing Pinot Noir and Syrah Fermentaions

In this continuing series of harvest images, here are a couple sights in the cellar from pressing red fermenations of Syrah and Pinot Noir.  The process is fairly straightforward, use a pump to drain any wine that comes freely from the tank.Then, to unlock the rest of the wine still soaked in the skins, we […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Donelan Harvest Images: The Punch Down of Pinot Noir

During fermentation, the massive production of carbon dioxide sends the skins and stems we leave in red wine ferments floating to the top (pictured left).  All those elements have goodness that we want to extract from them and as a result we need to work to submerge and mix them with the warm Syrah, or […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Donelan Wines: Kobler Vineyard Syrah vertical 2003-2010

  Winemakers, what a life we live and what a job we have.  As harvest approaches we hope to continue to use this platform to help you understand exactly what it means to “make” wine.  Do we really just take Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Syrah, or whatever, crush it and let it go?  Well, kind […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , ,

What is a winemaker: putting ego aside & capturing variability.

  I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a winemaker and while our profession contains many responsibilities that are obvious, some nuances are not very clear.  Basically we are responsible for cultivating Syrah and shepherding yeast and bacteria into transforming that fruit into a wine that gives people pleasure.  […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , ,

The off-harvest season still impacts Donelan wine quality

  “What exactly are you doing in the cellar this time of year” is a frequent question received from fans.  It is true that once our Syrah or Grenache or Pinot or Chardonnay head to barrel we trust all that is left to do is wait and blend.  Blending surely is something we spend a […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Why we might add Viognier to Syrah Wine.

  I have worked with Syrah most of my career, and one of the remaining unanswered questions: what is the origin of people adding Viognier to Syrah.  Most responses correctly explain that adding Viognier to Syrah has its roots in Cote Rotie of the Northern Rhone where they are allowed to add up to 20% […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Pinot Noir: a thin veil over your vineyard and winemaking.

  I once heard it said that if you want your heartbroken make Pinot Noir.  I think the wine’s delicacy is a thin veil over vineyard quality and skilled management.  Winemakers repeatedly give people the impression that Pinot Noir is one of the hardest grapes to grow and produce.  How true is this?  Is Pinot […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The way to improve your wine? Sensory Science and Humility

  “Those who utilize sensory science make better wine.”  I recently recalled this matter of fact phrase once made by my sensory science professor during a lecture. What did she mean by that, and why did she phrase it in that “this is truth” manner?  Was she suggesting that if you wear lab coats, conduct […]

Posted In: General Musings Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , , , ,